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Stalking Mr. Schmooze

January 2007 Selling

In the search for the ultimate super-seller, author Richard Abraham offered attendees of a recent University of Chicago Sales Roundtable insight into a particularly successful relationship-oriented species known as “Mr. Schmooze.”

Mr. Schmooze was the focus of Abraham’s 2002 self-published book, “Mr. Schmooze, the Art and Science of Selling Though Relationships.” A public speaker, researcher and consultant for Fortune 500 companies including General Motors, Kimberly Clark and Sears Roebuck, Abraham, whose background includes a heavy dose of commercial real estate selling, focused on specific dynamics of the selling process utilized by Mr. Schmooze.

Abraham told his audience that Mr. Schmooze is a character that appears time and again in Abraham’s life. Such people are “incredibly successful,” according to Abraham who attempts to develop a profile of the super-seller.

“The type of person elevates our lives,” he said. “He makes us feel better because he has that great ability to connect. That kind of emotional connection makes people feel comfortable. And people who feel comfortable want to buy.” Abraham points out that often what people (customers) need has nothing to do with the product the salesman is selling. “It’s the emotional part of the mind kicks in first,” he said.

“Selling is about emotions,” he added. “All great sales people are skilled at making powerful emotional connections….It’s also about giving. All great salespeople understand that selling is not about taking — it’s about giving. They have an innate understanding of what buyers really need and they deliver it to them…. Great salespeople stand out by bringing joy, laughter and fun into their relationships with prospects and clients.”

Making that great first impression is another of Mr. Schmooze’s great talents, according to Abraham. “Our research shows that most sales presentations are won or lost in the first 90 seconds.”

Listening is another of Mr. Schmooze’s great talents, according to Abraham. “In a typical sales call, this kind of relationship builder will spend 48 out of every 60 minutes listening.”

Two other techniques discussed by Abraham are follow-up and focus on benefits.

“Great salespeople are ferocious in their follow-up in their attempt to maintain top-of-mind awareness,” he said. Particularly successful follow-up techniques include sending articles and providing news.

Finally, he stressed the need to be mindful of the need to convert ‘features’ into ‘quantifiable benefits.’



About the author

James T. Berger, Managing Editor of The Wiglaf Journal, through his Northbrook-based firm, James T. Berger/Market Strategies, offers a broad range of marketing communications, research and strategic planning consulting services. In addition, he provides expert services to intellectual property attorneys in the area of trademark infringement litigation. An adjunct professor of marketing at Roosevelt University, he previously has taught at Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago and The Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BA), Northwestern University (MS) and the University of Chicago (MBA). Berger is an often-published free lance business writer who has developed more than 100 published articles in the last eight years. For more information, visit www.jamesberger.net or telephone him at (847) 328-9633.

James T. Berger
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